SINGAPORE - A cleaning supervisor who molested his 11-year-old stepdaughter was jailed for 15 months and ordered to be given three strokes of the cane on Friday (Sept 2).
The 43-year-old pleaded guilty to one of two charges of using criminal force to outrage the victim's modesty by placing his hand under her shirt and squeezing her breasts on April 6 this year.
He cannot be named due to a gag order.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy said the victim's mother married the accused sometime in 2012. She has four children from her previous marriage. The victim, who is in Primary 5, and her siblings addressed the accused as "daddy".
On April 6 this year, one of the victim's teachers noticed that she was crying in school. When she was taken to a school counsellor, she told the counsellor that she was molested by the accused.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development was subsequently called in and a police report was made.
Investigations showed that sometime between 12am and 6am on April 6, the victim was sleeping at home in the living room of the flat in the Jalan Besar area when she heard the television being turned on.
She opened her eyes briefly and could see that the accused was sitting on the floor.
The accused then stroked her on the head. She closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep. He then molested her. She was scared and continued to pretend to sleep out of fear.
The accused said in mitigation that he was the sole breadwinner of the family with six children. Pleading for a lighter sentence, he said his wife - who was in court - had been supporting him all this while.
District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim told the accused he was supposed to take care of the victim and not take advantage of her.
The maximum penalty for molesting any person under 14 years old is five years' jail, a fine and caning.